Is it perfect? Or near perfect? Let’s find out!
Want to start taking your art & embossing more serious?
Want to make amazing cards, cut emblems, emboss wallets & have amazing prints?
You need the Silhouette Portrait 2 - a portable die-cutter of the future.
And before you ask – yes, it has as much power and versatility as larger machines do.
Don’t believe me?
Well, then just keep with me and read my Silhouette Portrait 2 review.
You’ll find out why it’s one of the best modern, portable cutting machines on the market today!
Silhouette Portrait 2 – Grades Table
Here’s a quick overview of my thoughts on the Silhouette Portrait 2, in case you don’t have the time to read over my full review – I know some of you are busy.
If you do have the time though, make sure to read my full Silhouette Portrait 2 review below since there are some things that just can’t be expressed with simple grades.
What’s in The Box?
- The Silhouette Portrait 2 cutting machine
- Silhouette Studio 4 (downloadable)
- 50 exclusive cuttable designs
- USB cable
- Power cable
- The Silhouette AutoBlade
- Bluetooth adapter
- One 8-by-12-inch cutting mat
- 1-month subscription to the Silhouette Design Store
- 50 cuttable designs for download
- 1-year limited warranty
- Dimensions – 16.25 x 4.5 x 5.6 inches (41.3 x 11.4 x 14.2 cm)
- Weight – 3.53 pounds (1.6 kg)
- Maximum Cutting Width - 8 inches
- Maximum Cutting Length – 10 feet
- Maximum Cutting Thickness – 2mm
- Cutting Strength – 210 grams
- Compatible Materials – Over 100, including cardstock, fabric, adhesive vinyl, paper, vellum, and so on.
- Bluetooth Compatible - Yes
Silhouette Portrait 2 – A Detailed Performance Review
As usual, I’ve gone and done my best to test every aspect of the machine that I’m reviewing so I could give you a good overview of what it can do and what it struggles with.
Here’s what I found out.
First off, the size is just great – it’s definitely one of the smallest cutting machines that I have ever used, and it just seems refreshing to use something that doesn’t completely dominate the work area.
The weight is amazingly light, and if you need to take it somewhere with you, it’s very easy to do it. At only 3.5 pounds, it won’t weigh you down much – definitely not as much as other machines would.
However, is it so light and small because it’s made out of flimsy materials that fall apart easily?
Luckily, no, this isn’t the case. The build quality is quite solid here, and this is definitely a machine that will hold up to repeated use surprisingly well. Even if you drop it a few times (I dropped the test unit once) it won’t just fall apart, and it will keep working just fine.
Usage & Software
Using Silhouette Portrait 2 is fairly simple, and there aren’t a lot of complicated options that you have to deal with.
There’s no touchscreen or anything like that – just five buttons on the side that all have simple uses:
Even though the machine looks simple on the first glance, it is capable of doing complex work - by utilizing its native software included in the package – the Silhouette Studio 4. You can import designs, edit them, and make them ready for printing and cutting.
Now, it might take a while to get used to the software, but once you do, it’s going to be a breeze to use and it has a ton of great options. It also doesn’t need to be connected to the internet all the time, like the Cricut software, which is a huge relief.
Also, don’t worry – it works equally well on both PC and Mac, though I don’t know about Linux, you’ll have to test that out for yourself. I’m not quite a Linux gal myself.
The software also allows you to use designs from the Silhouette Design Store and you get 50 free designs, along with a 1-month subscription, along with the machine.
Of course, you’ll have to pay a lot to access it after that, meaning that you essentially get locked out of some more advanced features after that one free month. That includes some of the more advanced features of the software which some might consider essential – the ability to use layers, import SVG files, and so on.
The software is also compatible with the PixScan technology – you can just place a piece of hand-drawn artwork on the provided mat, capture it using a smartphone or a digital camera and transfer it into the program and add the cut lines.
With just that, it will be completely read for cutting. It’s amazing how easy it is!
Now, you might be concerned about its cutting strength because of the relatively diminutive size of the entire machine – and by being so, you’d be half-right.
While the cutting strength is not bad by any means, it’s not too strong either, and you might find that it struggles with certain things.
The machine claims to be able to cut over 100 different materials, and while I haven’t been able to test out all of them, I’ve used a lot of different materials with it – some that are listed as compatible with it and even some that aren’t.
Things like paper, cardstock, and so on were not problematic at all. This is something Silhouette Portrait 2 easily dealt with, and the cuts were precise and crisp.
Where the problem came in are the slightly tougher materials, like vinyl. The machine was able to cut through them and make the designs I wanted, but the edges weren’t quite as clean as I hoped.
It also had some issues when cutting thicker fabric – and forget about cutting multiple layers of it, it usually won’t work. You will need to do it one piece at a time, which is not ideal.
The cutting depth is decent, but the strength just isn’t quite there. Because of this, it can cut craft foam, for example, but don’t count on it cutting leather all that well, even though it can do it.
The cutting length, when cutting certain materials, is also impressive and it can be up to 10 feet, something that’s greatly appreciated. You can do a lot in just one cutting or drawing job.
The cutting width, though, is quite limited and the machine can only cut materials up to 8 inches wide. That means that some standard paper sheets, like the 8.5-by-11-inch lettering sheet, will not fit in the machine.
No matter what type of material it is cutting, though, the machine remains relatively quiet, which is a blessing. A lot of cutting machines are unnecessarily loud, and this one luckily avoids that trap.
As for the extras included with the machine, most are quite good, but there are a few standouts that I would like to mention.
There’s the Silhouette AutoBlade, for a start – a useful tool but not as useful as you might think it is. If you’re expecting something you’ll just attach to the machine and press a button, you’re mistaken.
However, it will save on set-up time and bothering with the specifics of cutting certain materials since it will adjust to them automatically as long as you pick the right option in the software.
The other major extra is the Bluetooth adapter which allows you to use this machine wirelessly. I’ve previously had some less than stellar experiences when using Bluetooth with cutting machines, and I wondered how this one was going to perform.
I can definitely say that the technology has come a long way since then and it works far more consistently now.
There are still some problems here and there, I can’t say it’s perfect, but it works nine times out of ten, and all the issues are resolved quickly, which is good enough for me. I can send my designs to it easily without having to use extra cables or sit next to it.
Besides that, there’s also the cutting mat which is, well, a standard cutting mat, nothing special. It’s not flimsy and cheap, but it’s nothing exceptional either.
I’ve talked a lot about cutting here, but that’s not all this machine can do – it can draw as well! Just replace the blade with an appropriate pen, and you’re good to go! I’ve had great experiences with it drawing on any type of material.
Of course, you have to pay a bit extra for the privilege – you’ll have to buy some compatible sets from Silhouette as well. It’s quite a shame that you can’t do this with just what’s included in the package.
While this is by no means an overly expensive machine on its own, the cost of all the extras you might need to buy to get the most out of it adds up over time and if you need it for something more than just some basics, be sure to take that into account.
To Sum Up:
Here are all the pros and cons of this machine summed up for your convenience – read the full review above to understand the list.
- Incredibly lightweight compared to similar machines
- It doesn’t take up a lot of space
- Great cutting length (10 feet)
- Versatile software that is easy to use
- The Silhouette Autoblade is incredibly useful
- Wireless cutting through Bluetooth
- Works surprisingly quietly
- Good, durable design
- Limited cutting width (8 inches)
- Relatively weak with only 210 grams of cutting force
- Doesn’t cut cleanly with some materials
- Doesn’t have a storage compartment
- You need to pay more for some advanced features
My Final Impressions
So, with all that said, is the Silhouette Portrait 2 worth buying? Well, it largely depends on what you’re after, but I’d say that for most people doing arts and crafts at home, it will be more than great.
It’s especially well-suited for those that need a portable cutting machine or at least one that doesn’t take up a lot of space on the work area. It works quietly as well, and it’s probably the most inconspicuous cutting machine that I’ve used.
The range of functions and accessories available with it is also huge, and you can definitely get a lot of different work done with it. It’s not the strongest machine around, but it’s definitely more than fit most common cutting jobs.
If you’re looking for a sleek and functional machine, the Silhouette Portrait 2 is one of the best choices as long as you can deal with some of its minor flaws – and I’m sure you’ll be able to do that.
So, what are you waiting for? If you’re interested, I suggest that you get it as soon as possible!
I hope I managed to help you out and if you feel the need to ask anything or just share your opinion, pop down into the comments!
See you next time!